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How to identify dengue fever symptoms in children

The child may have dengue when they present symptoms such as fever and lack of appetite, which are more worrisome when there is an epidemic of this disease. However, dengue in children is not always accompanied by symptoms, so it is often only identified when it reaches a more advanced stage.

In general, children have the same signs of age-related illnesses such as the influenza, which may confuse parents. The diagnosis of dengue is done through a blood test that identifies the virus, and only when the disease is discovered early on, can the child be treated at home.

How to identify dengue fever symptoms in children

Dengue symptoms in children

The child with dengue may not have symptoms or flu-like symptoms, so the disease often passes quickly into the severe stage without being noticed. In general, the symptoms are:

  • Apathy and muscle weakness;
  • Somnolence;
  • High Fever, that starts suddenly and lasts between 2 to 7 days;
  • Headache;
  • Refusal of food and liquids;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea or loose stools;
  • Bleeding in the nose or gums;
  • Red spots on the skin.

In children younger than 2 years of age, symptoms such as headache and muscle pain can be identified by persistent crying and irritability. It is normal for the child not to have difficulty breathing, and parents end up confusing dengue fever with common infections like the flu because of the fever they have, which can happen in both cases.

Signs of complications due to dengue fever

The main signs of dengue complications in children appear between the 3rd and 7th day of illness when the fever passes. These signs are:

  • Frequent vomiting;
  • Severe abdominal pain that does not go away;
  • Swollen belly;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Somnolence;
  • Irritability;
  • Delirium;
  • Memory loss;
  • Temperature less than 35 ° C.

In general, dengue fever in children worsens rapidly and the onset of these signs is a warning for the beginning of a severe disease. Thus, the pediatrician should be sought as soon as the first symptoms appear, so that the disease is identified before moving to the severe form.

How to identify dengue fever symptoms in children

Dengue diagnosis

The diagnosis of dengue is done through a blood test to evaluate the presence of the virus. However, the result of this examination takes a few days, and the doctor starts treatment as soon as the signs of the disease are identified in the child.

Dengue treatment

Treatment of dengue begins as soon as symptoms are identified, even without confirmation of the diagnosis by blood test. The type of treatment that will be used depends on the severity of the illness, and only in milder cases can the child be treated at home. In general, treatment includes:

  • Ingestion of liquids;
  • Saline solution through the vein;
  • Medication to control the symptoms of fever, pain and vomiting.

In more severe cases, the child needs to be admitted to the ICU. Usually dengue fever lasts for about 10 days, but full recovery can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

Why can a child may have dengue more than once

All people, children and adults, may have dengue again, even if they have had the disease before. As there are 4 different viruses for dengue, so if you are infected by dengue it means you are only immune to that strand, and can catch one of the other 3 different types of dengue. In addition, it is common for people who have had dengue to develop dengue hemorrhagic fever, and so disease prevention care should be maintained.

Bibliography >

  • SOCIEDADE BRASILEIRA DE PEDIATRIA. Dengue. Available on: <https://www.sbp.com.br/especiais/pediatria-para-familias/doencas/dengue/>. Access in 30 Sep 2019
  • BLOG DA SAÚDE - MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE. Sintomas de dengue em crianças podem ser confundidos com gripe ou virose. Available on: <http://www.blog.saude.gov.br/index.php/promocao-da-saude/32200-sintomas-de-dengue-em-criancas-podem-ser-confundidos-com-gripe-ou-virose>. Access in 30 Sep 2019
  • MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE. Dengue: sintomas, causas, tratamento e prevenção. Available on: <http://www.saude.gov.br/saude-de-a-z/dengue>. Access in 30 Sep 2019
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